How to Wet Exit from Your Kayak [Video]

When you know what to do in the event of an emergency situation, you’ll be more comfortable on all your paddle adventures. One of these possible situations is a capsize.

If you paddle a touring kayak with a spray skirt, you may want to learn how to roll your kayak. You’ll also want to learn the wet exit:

When You Don’t need to Practice the Wet Exit

If you paddle a recreational kayak that doesn’t have a spray skirt or thigh braces, you don’t need to practice a wet exit. You’ll simply fall out of your kayak in the event of a capsize.

If you paddle a touring kayak, though, you’ll want to practice a wet exit right away so you know what it feels like and can exit quickly.

How to Wet Exit from a Touring Kayak

Gravity’s natural pull makes it relatively easy to exit from a capsized touring kayak, too, even if it has thigh braces and a spray skirt.

practice the wet exit
It's important to practice the wet exit until you're comfortable with it


Find a safe area, close to shore, out of the wind and away from other boat traffic. You want the water to be shallow enough for you to stand in, but deep enough to fall out.

Know where the pull-cord for your spray skirt is before you roll. Then roll yourself over, grab the pull-cord and pull the skirt away from the kayak’s edges. Use both hands next to your hips to pull yourself out of the upside-down kayak, and head toward the surface.

While it’ll feel natural to lean back as you pull yourself out of the cockpit, that makes it harder because of the thigh braces. Instead, lean into a forward somersault as you pull out.

wet exit from a kayak
Lean into a forward somersault as you pull out of your kayak


Keep a grip on your paddle with one hand while doing this, if at all possible. Grab your paddle and kayak, and swim to shore.

Practice the wet exit until you can do it comfortably and easily. You’ll be more comfortable every time you’re out on the water.

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